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CarComplaints.com Notes: The 2002 Ford Explorer is hands-down our worst vehicle on record. "Avoid like the plague" is putting it lightly.

The 2002-2005 Explorer has a very well-established record of expensive transmission failure at under 100k miles. The Explorer has an enclosed transmission which is typically replaced with a rebuilt transmission at a cost of almost $3,000.

Another common problem for the 2002-2003 Explorer is wheel bearing failure at around 90k miles, with a typical repair bill of $500 to $1000 depending on how many wheel bearings failed.

Adding insult to injury, the 2002-2005 Explorer also has a massive problem with the rear panel cracking. While it's a minor annoyance compared to transmission failure, ironically the crack usually goes right through the Ford logo.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
106,361 miles
Total Complaints:
367 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (115 reports)
  2. ford needs to recall their faulty transmission (110 reports)
  3. complete rebuild (78 reports)
  4. new tranmission (46 reports)
  5. new solenoid, pistol in tranny broken (11 reports)
  6. new solenoid (4 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 19)

problem #367

Nov 302013

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles


It is obvious how prevalent this problem is with this make, year, and model. Own up to your default, Ford!

- , Paramus, NJ, USA

problem #366

Jan 022014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 157,000 miles

O/D light blinking and transmission slipping. Took it to a few "transmission experts." Price to rebuild ranges from 1400-3800 depending on the crooks . Plus, you have to leave the car with them for 3-4 days . And since you're not seeing what they're doing, you don't know if all that's needed in some minor work and you're getting charged for major work. You just don't know. I already had a rebuilt engine put in and new wheel bearings .

Ford knew what they were doing . They knew this cars transmission would break down after so many miles.

They should be held responsible for selling a defective vehicle. All of these vehicles should be recalled.


- , Yonkers, NY, USA

problem #365

Dec 182013

Explorer Eddie Bauer 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles

The O/D light kept blinking O/D Off. Vehicle started to shake and slow down to a crawl. Was able to drive it to my Ford dealership. I was told that my transmission was shot and that I had two repair options:

1. Rebuilt transmission-----Cost $2,200

2. New transmission---Cost $4,200

I take care of my cars and had all of the regular checkups done at the dealership. This vehicle only has 112,000 miles on it. THERE IS NO WAY THAT THIS TRANSMISSION SHOULD HAVE GONE OUT IN THE CAR. READ A REPORT THAT SHOWED 412 COMPLAINTS ABOUT THE TRANSMISSIONS IN FORD EXPLORERS FROM THE YEARS 2000 TO 2004 WERE PROBLEMS. RECEIVED NOTHING IN THE MAIL ABOUT THIS. AM VERY UPSET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is our 4th Ford product that we have purchased from this dealer. Have been a customer there for 40 years.

- , Mechanicsburg, PA, USA

problem #364

Sep 052013

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 200,000 miles


2 out 3 months ago had transmission rebuilt, needle bearing went out on first and second gear. now the over drive light keeps blinking and tired gear kicks in hard with a knock and a jerk. I think it's a solenoid or valve body gasket.

- , Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

problem #363

May 022013

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

Ford Co. Need to do a recall on their transmission!

- , Mcarthur, Ohio, USA

problem #362

Apr 172012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 158,837 miles


- , Biloxi, MS, USA

problem #361

Jul 262013

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 202,000 miles


Recall or fix this problem, there are too many complaints to ignore Ford or you will continue to lose customers...

- , Hickory, MS, USA

problem #360

Apr 022010

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

its so unfair that the ford co. don't do anything about it. I had other cars and the transmission on them seem in very good condition and they were older than this one.

What's up with ford company it started with this problem a long time ago close to the time the build it, but ford didn't do anything about it no satisfy customer here I tell you.

- , Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #359

Dec 252012

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

they need to fix it, the tramission are messing, the back glass dont shut, speed control dont work, 4x4 dont work... all i have ever own was a ford explorer but after this one i dont know if i will ever buy another one

- , Hobbsville, North Carolina, USA

problem #358

Mar 152013

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,780 miles

O/D light would come on and keep blinking. This occurred along with the transmission revving up and going no where and not wanting to shift. I was told I need a new transmission.

- , Mechanicsburg, PA, USA

problem #357

May 042012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles


I think it's stupid that there's so many complaints and they won't do a recall!!! Transmissions aren't cheap

- , Georgetown, South Carolina, USA

problem #356

Feb 062013

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles

As I was driving one day I noticed my o/d light blinking. I began researching the issue only to find ALL the complaints from the majority of Explorer owners. I have now began a petition to make Ford recognize their wrong in this situation and demand they help financially. PLEASE sign the petition so we, meaning you as well because you most likely wouldn't be reading this if you weren't experiencing problems, can get our vehicle fixed to be the reliable ABC dependable vehicle we purchased and was promised it would be.

Click j this link and sign :http://www.change.org/petitions/ford-motor-company-create-a-recall-to-repair-the-transmission-in-the-2000-2004-explorer-2

- , Sanford, North Carolina, USA

problem #355

Jan 292013

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 200,030 miles

I bought this vehicle with 198000+ on it. The transmission started slipping as I was going up a long hill doing about 45 and dropped out of O/D - with the light blinking - and CHECK TRANSMISSION on the dash. Took it to the local "FORD" dealer. Initial estimate $190 - for a fluid change, and inspection of the issue. Code kicked out as "Solenoid B - Malfunction". After pulling valve body, problem still not found. $800 and climbing. Transmission removed from vehicle, and torn down to inspect. Problem turned out to be the Solenoid BORE was somehow "scored" - with a groove and needs to be repaired. Extended Warranty company wouldn't cover it (another scam). 2 Days into it, the bill is now at least $2750 - to REPAIR - not REBUILD - or Remanufacture. FORD Motor Company will be getting a call from one P###D off customer. I was about to drive CROSS COUNTRY for a new job - and now - I need to scramble for repair costs. I understand it's a high mileage vehicle - but I can't even take this one to the "USED CAR" dealer I bought it from - lemon laws in Oregon don't cover used vehicles. My advice would be to tell everyone to avoid this model year -- Eddie Bauer edition - 4x4, and very costly to maintain....Owned it for 60 days and already have to spend better than HALF of the purchase price to repair a pre-existing yet undetected problem. Is this how FORD stays in business? It's BS -- and I wish they would pony up some of the cost to fix something that they obviously know is an issue.

- , Hillsboro, OR, USA

problem #354

Mar 272013

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 144,000 miles

Seems to be a common problem, going to see what it will cost to fix, can't see putting $2000 or $3000 into the car

- , Mount Laurel, NJ, USA

problem #353

Feb 262013

Explorer ES 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 210,000 miles

This is second time this problem has occurred and is clearly do to poor design. This should have been recalled long ago but, money talks and bull sh*t walks...literally.

- , Edgewater, Maryland, USA

problem #352

Feb 182013

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 147,000 miles

I've seen a lot of problems with the tranny going out on the 2002 Ford Explorer. I've tried everything but it will still cost me $2500. I don't want to continue to keep throwing money in this truck when it will keep failing me. Ford really needs to recall this tranny.

- , Clarksville, IN, USA

problem #351

Feb 252013

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,000 miles

Don't really know where to start with this SUV. Rear gate cover cracked then basically fell off....water to the latch causing the alarm to go off on its on...error message constantly stays on. Had to take all the light bulbs from inside out because they would not go out because of the door ajar message. 5....yes 5 window regulators in two years. 5 disc CD changer does not eject...can only use the stereo. Right rear axel had to be replaced two years ago. Finally, the O/D light started flashing...took it to the dealer and they said the error message indicated that the torque converter was defective....he said he wasn't sure that it was bad due to the fact these transmissions are almost ALL defective. Continued to drive it with the error message beeping every twenty miles because it wont reset. Finally one day the message went away and the car seemed fine....now after 119000 miles the transmission struggles to change gears and driving down the road it roars like a b**ch! Mechanic said it needs a new transmission. While he was checking it out it also has an oil leak around the oil filter assembly that is leaking onto the sensor causing the oil pressure gauge to go crazy with error messages flashing so much you cant even drive it. Got it home.....backed it in the garage....put cardboard under it to catch the oil from the leak and that is where it will stay. Ford really screwed us faithful customers on this one. They need a RECALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Going to sell it for junk probably and buy a Toyota truck.

- , Graniteville, SC, USA

problem #350

Dec 192011

Explorer Limited 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles

i was driving home after just purchasing my new POS and i pulled in my drive way and the OD light came on it also made a squeal. And bad stutter on my way back to the dealership. i couldn't get it above 35 mph. i tried to tell em to to take it back but they pretty much said ur outa luck, u signed the papers and drove off the lot. luckily i had an extended warranty on it, otherwise it woulda been a nice 3500 dollar bill along with my new POS. thanks ford for making such a crappy car.

- , Bellevue, Ohio, USA

problem #349

Dec 282012

Explorer LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

Unfortunately, I bought this explorer thinking that I was doing a good thing in supporting an American company. However, based on the situation I have with this vehicle and in reading through the internet, this issue with Ford Explorers is very common. The company should be held responsible for this!!! Ford vehicles are very costly and the bottom line is that people like me buy a car because of necessity. The company is aware of the faulty transmission problem and does nothing to help its costumers. Complaint after complaint and nothing is done. The government should be involved in these matters as the citizens are being taken advantage of. It is ridiculous that you purchase a car and soon after you have to invest in a NEW TRANSMISSION or any costly repair. Shame on you Ford Company for knowing this and not caring for your "loyal" customers, who believe in supporting American businesses like yours. In order to continue striving you need customers and If you continue with poor customer service and taking NO responsibility of your actions you will be soon part of the past. As far as I am concerned I will never purchase a Ford vehicle nor will I recommend anyone to do so. If you're a smart company, you will step up to the plate and DO THE RIGHT THING!!!

- , Orlando, FL, USA

problem #348

Dec 222012

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

O/D OFF flashing, CHECK TRANSMISSION came on. Transmission guy said I need a new solenoid pack but from reading reviews I'm not sure that is going to take care of it. I have owned 5 vehicles, this being my first American made, and I get this problem after having it for less than 6 months. Should have known better and will never buy American again.

- , Louisville, KY, USA

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